UPCOMING RACEDAY MATCHEM STAKES DAY, Saturday 28 September

The stories behind owner’s colours: Andrew Brand

When Southampton confirmed their promotion to the English Premier League at the end of May, following a 1-0 win in the playoff final over Leeds at Wembley, no one in South Africa was jumping up and down more than Andrew Brand.

Passionate football fan, passionate businessman and passionate racing owner. And, according to his Twitter (X) profile, he also loves South African wine, whisky, rugby and cricket. And he’s a doting family man. An all-round good guy then, and a welcome member of the owners’ ranks in South African racing.

Southampton had been in the top-flight of English football for 11 straight years until they finished bottom of the log in the 2022-23 season and were relegated to the Championship. There, they finished third behind Leicester and Ipswich, but bounced right back to the EPL after only one year in the second tier.

The English football club are the reason Brand chose his colours as a racing owner. As they are officially listed in the Racing Calendar of the National Horseracing Authority Of South Africa: “White, Red Chevron, White Sleeves, Red Stars, Red Cap, White Peak”.

It all stems back to when he was a young child. “The 1976 FA Cup final was shown in black and white on TV in those days. The finalists were Manchester United and Southampton. Southampton sounded a bit like ‘South Africa’ to me as a four-year-old so I supported them. They won 1-0. It could have been so much worse, I could have started supporting Man United!”

His love for racing also started young. “There was no phone betting, or internet back then, so on Saturday mornings my dad would drive down to the Tote at Kenilworth – I think it is where McDonald’s now is –  and I’d sit in the car while he was inside filling out his betting slips. Later we’d listen to the results on the radio. I asked my dad, ‘can I spend R5 of my pocket money, I’d like to have a bet’. I earned the money working hard doing work in the garden and cleaning the pool!”

Among his most familiar winners are the Justin Snaith-trained Rule Of Thumb, who has been dubbed “the miracle horse” after coming back to win following a career-threatening injury. “I also had two winners last October with William West and Prime Venture. My latest winners, like Trippi’s Silk and Captain Arrow, haven’t been in my colours.”

His first winner in his red and white was Power Grid, who is now 10, and last raced nearly a year ago. “He was a beautiful bay gelding and won seven races, basically on three legs!”

He is also involved on the breeding side.“I have shares in a few mares with Anton Shepherd at Beaumont Stud. The farm bred champions like Prince Florimund and Variety Club. If I buy a yearling I send it to Anton who keeps it until it’s ready to go into training. And I’m hopeful that one day I’ll be involved with a Grade 1 champion. I’m an optimist by nature.”

And all at Cape Racing will be hoping that his Grade 1 wishes come true.

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Vaughan Marshall

Vaughan Marshall saw it coming from a long way out. What he envisaged then, the racing community is seeing now.

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